Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Fernando Alonso stretched his lead in the World Endurance Championship points standings to 15 points after taking at the 1000 Miles of Sebring
It was the double Formula One world champion’s first win since the 24 Hours of LeMans last year.
Speaking following the race, Alonso who dominated the event with his team mate’s Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi said:
It is a happy day for us. We came here to this very difficult circuit and we did a lot of testing and preparation. We went into the weekend feeling confident we would have a strong race, particularly starting from pole position. From the lead of the race, we tried to manage the risk. The rain was very stressful but Kazuki did a fantastic job in difficult conditions to bring home another win at a historic venue for endurance racing.
Alonso’s team mate in the No.8 TS050 Hybrid Sebastien Buemi commented saying:
“I am really pleased to be in the middle of the podium again after quite a long wait. It was a tricky race because the traffic here is not easy. In my first stint José was really quick so I had to push. We wanted to make a gap but the #7 was within 10 seconds for many hours until they had the contact. I did the best I could to minimise the risk and stay cool. When the #7 had the contact we took it easy and just got to the end without any dramas.”
Kazuki Nakajima commented by saying:
It’s great to win here in Sebring, especially after such a tough race. Maybe it looked straightforward from the outside but in my first stint I had a bit of traffic so it was already hard. When I jumped in at the end I knew what I had to do; get to the end without any risk. I was happy with the car in dry conditions but not at all happy in the end in the rain. Visibility and grip were amazingly low so I was really happy to see the chequered flag.
The No.8 Toyota won the race by a lap over the sister No.7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.
Speaking following the race, Conway said:
Another one-two is a good result for everybody on the team. We pushed hard all the way through and it was a nice fight in the first half of the race. We all had some close moments out there; you get so close to the GT cars. At the end the conditions were really tricky; it was like driving on ice, particularly on the concrete sections. It’s a pity that we lost out today but we still have Spa and Le Mans coming up so we will keep pushing.”
Lopez commented by saying:
Congratulations to car #8; our team-mates did a fantastic job. It was a very hard race and from my side I was struggling a bit in traffic today. I was trying to catch Séb and I just misjudged a move on a GT car. We were unlucky but these things can happen sometimes and after that I just looked forward and kept pushing. Fortunately the car wasn’t badly damaged and we could finish the race. I am pretty happy with second place in this hard race.”
Kamui Kobayashi commented saying:
“Car #8 did a great job and deserved this win. We fought hard but after the contact we could not challenge. Still we showed our spirit and continued to push in the second half of the race even though it was not easy. It’s important not to give up. For the team, finishing one-two is a great result so thanks a lot to them for their hard work; the big preparation paid off here.”
Team President Hisatake Murata commented by saying:
I am very pleased that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and our TS050 HYBRID is the first winner of the 1000 Miles of Sebring. Our visit to Sebring has been challenging but successful. Everyone in the team adjusted very well to the different requirements here and pushed really hard to achieve this result. Thanks to them and also a big thank you to the fans here in Florida; they have made our first visit here really special with their passion for endurance racing and their warm welcome. I hope they enjoyed the race and I wish everyone an exciting and successful Sebring 12 Hours tomorrow.”
The team can win the manufacturers championship in May at the Six hours of Spa which takes place on May 4.